Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

D4AA3B48-AFEF-42DA-B129-E4CBD66AFFE5So I actually need to back up a little bit in order to tell the full story. A week or so before my iron infusion I got sick (like really sick, 104 fever, chills, aches, sore throat, ears etc. “doubly” fun when you are hugely pregnant) a couple of nights before my infusion and stress test I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally), my fever was at its highest and I was hot and cold and shaking. Not being able to breathe actually got to me as I was struggling sitting up in bed propped up by pillows.

I even (embarrassingly enough) recoded my own shallow breathing on my phone (mostly to share with my mom but potentially the doctor. I felt a little like I was overreacting (being Swedish and all) but I was actually scared. I ended up pacing the house for hours that night not being able to even sit up in bed because of the shortened of breath and pressure on my chest.

I called my mom a little “panic-y” in the early morning (afternoon in Sweden). She wasn’t concerned until I told her exactly how freaked out I really was. She diagnosed..heart attack or pneumonia and voted for a doctor’s visit.

Luckily I got an appointment the very same day (they probably considered my pregnancy as well) and luckily it wasn’t my heart (but since my mom is always right) it WAS pneumonia. I had to do an x-ray which is always scary while pregnant but they completely covered my huge bump with that heavy protector blanket and let me know baby would be fine (actually the illness is way more worrisome for the baby than the x-ray procedure). I was so sick that I even had to cancel two stress tests for baby and I .

When I went to my iron infusion that rainy winter morning, I was still  sick. I had to disclose my pneumonia diagnosis to the receptionist as I checked in, despite having been on antibiotics (3 days in and feeling  better). They immediately gave me a mask (making me feel self conscious and like a giant threat amongst all the moms-to-be in the waiting room area).

Fast forward to the week later. I had just been released after my 48 hour stay in the hospital STILL feeling feverish, achy and under the weather, complaining to my mom that my antibiotics must not be working (5+ days and I felt like after some progress I had gone backwards to feeling worse again. I have this issue with antibiotics too-might be since I’ve had a “few” doses in my life, where they sometimes don’t work or I’ll have to switch to a stronger kind, stay in them longer or double the dose). My mother wisely told me that the antibiotics only works for bacterial infection not viral ones…

Anyways, back to what happened after our Skype call. I hang up with my mom and feel instantly better after all the venting (as always) and put our 21 months old down for his nap.

Something wakes me up and it all happens EXACTLY like like last time, a huge fish of water streams down my legs and into the carpet (sorry TMI and about to get worse) as I run towards the tiled bathroom. I yank down my maternity pants and underwear and proceed towards the toilet but something is different…

Something is not “exactly like last time”, something is off and I have feeling that something is not good…

Not good at all…

Blue Christmas (part 1)

I know I shouldn’t be upset. This is in MY best interest after all and more importantly the baby’s, but when the PA says I have to be admitted to the HOSPITAL all I feel is dread…

 

A flood of memories wash over me, are they really saying my huge bump and I could be spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital?? and what’s even worse, do they really think the baby could be at risk???
I can’t believe it, as I try to laugh it off when asking if I can still go to Sweden (I can right? Maybe they just want to keep us for a 24 hour observation) the PA (my “friend” Eva, remember her!?) gives me a stern look telling me that this isn’t funny at all but quite serious…
I’m at a loss for words, what is wrong then? I exclaim!
Baby looked great on the ultrasound. The huge doses of pregnancy hormones have wired me shut down there (with no exit in sight for our little guy) and there are no abnormal doses of protein in my urine.
This is the answer I’m given…
“You have a fever, you show signs of pre-e, you are 30 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy…”
Eva hands me the thick orange envelope, sending me on my way to the hospital entrance and admittance window…
I cannot believe it as I stare at the paperwork the words “acute febrile illness”, “cyst on left ovary”, “history of pre-eclampsia”, “history of preterm labor” and “geriatric pregnancy” become blurry.
I know I’m acting like a child, I need to suck it up and take care of myself and ultimately this little innocent life inside of me but…
This pregnancy has been so bad, straight from our miscarriage, I have been feeling so ill from the very first moment, I’m so huge and so hormonal and so alone and right now so sick…
I can’t help it, even if I’m totally “geriatric” (being in my late 30s and all) and already a mother of 3, my tears spill over as I’m asking (more like pleading and begging) the PA Eva one last time…
“If this turns out to be something I ate or a stomach bug instead of pre-e and the baby and I both look good in a few days do I get to go with my family to Sweden?”.
“Honestly, NO”
what??
“You have a blood filled cyst that can rupture any moment and even if it’s unlikely you don’t want that to be on a plane”.
“You could develop pre-eclampsia especially since you had it before or your water can break despite the barrier due to your big baby and this being your fourth- you don’t want any of those or other seriously life threatening scenarios to happen thousands of miles from your doctors or thousands of miles up in the air-trust me!”
“You know, you are not flying to LA BUT Europe, being from Germany, I know just how far and what that trip entails”
Wow, how come nobody had explained it to me like that before?
I was here today under the assumption that I was “allowed” to travel to Sweden, just needing the letter to give to the airline (and my meds, syringes and letter for those).
It feels like me getting sick blew every change of me (and us) going away…
The pouty child in me gets mad at her but after my tearful FaceTime call to my mom as I walk over to the big hospital around the corner I realize that I’m under excellent care, that I should listen to the professionals and that my plans (and dreams for the holidays) and my will means nothing when all that matters is this baby’s health! (And my own since I’m the one cooking him until he is completely [hopefully] done).
Before I even reach the hospital doors, I get the text that the kids at home are throwing up…

Close your eyes or you’ll see it…

We make it to the hospital (even if hubby has to parallel park, leaving the passenger side car door wide open). When security asks where we are headed we both yell “triage” and when he asks if it’s an emergency we answer “YES” at the exact same time.
I can barely walk, between the contractions coming every few minutes and the constant excessive leaking it’s fair to say that I’m a complete mess. I laugh one minute (slightly hysterical) and cry the next (more of a moan really). The elevator floor gets wet and I leave a trail behind me as we first enter the wrong floor. Despite of all of this, I’m only four centimeters dilated when they check. There is no questioning whether what I’m leaking is amniotic fluid however (the whole thing has now definitely ruptured) and since the contraction are so strong and close apart I get bumped up on the list to get a room. I tell my husband to hurry back to the house to get my mom as I wait on the narrow bed alone with my frequent contractions.

They hurt and I do have to stop what I’m doing and concentrate on breathing but it isn’t worse than me managing to text friends and check e-mails and social media in between them.

I answer all the nurse’s routine medical questions, briefly re-living my two previous births and deliveries, sending a wish above that this one will be easier!
The nurses get a laugh from my “pink or blue, either will do” dress.
My blood pressure is just slightly elevated and all my vitals seem fine, so far so good!

The nurses let me know that since my contractions are picking up we don’t have time to wait for my husband to come back with my mom before we head to the delivery room. They actually run me there in a wheel chair, I am six centimeters and things seem to move fast, I’m actually in quite a lot of pain by now.

I get a Russian nurse who is so stern and matter of fact, it’s quite stereotypical and actually exactly what I need right now. She orders me around-go to the bathroom, undress, put on gown, catheter is next-and I just follow her barking orders in a blank pain induced haze trying not to think about how it will get worse before it gets better…

The Russian nurse smacks her lips shaking her head as she reads my pregnancy and birth history. She tells me if anyone deserves a good delivery it’s me (I couldn’t agree more)! My doctor made good on her promise to have an OR prepped even though the nurses checking me in actually tells me that the scheduled Caesarian hasn’t been changed in their computer system (I’m glad I’m able to tell them that the plans have changed and my doctor is able to back me up, I actually feel really good about getting to try another vaginal delivery), she also has a team ready should anything go wrong with my delivery (baby or myself).

I feel so much better when mom finally shows up! I can still talk in between contractions but am not able to once they hit. How come you never remember how bad they really are?
The answer must really be the cliche that then you would never have another baby…ever!

Mom, husband and I share some laughs and talk about boy names before it gets really bad and I return into my fog of pain and there is really nothing else I can focus on, gripping the side rails of the bed tightly as one contraction replaces another.
All I want is my friggin epidural- this time I am all in and I will NOT be denied one that’s for sure!!
The Russian promises that I am next on the list and that anesthesiologist is finishing up with a patient as we speak. Before there is a nurse shift change (I’m sincerely sad she is leaving) she exclaims loudly; “girl; you are BOOMING those contractions”.

Not sure what the word means but 100% agreeing with her I wait while she gets the new nurse (a pretty, petite, brunette American) up to speed, covering my previous pre-eclampsia, baby’s broken clavicle, premature rupture of membranes, premature delivery, baby’s Brady’s, premature lungs and kidneys, the recent hospital stays, leaking, heart palpitations, preventative shots…everything…

The nurse agrees that mom and hubby should eat now while we wait for the epidural and hurry back because the pressure is intensifying and she is guessing that this baby will probably show up before midnight (thinking we have a couple of hours only). She is betting the baby is a boy while my mom bets a girl. As my family leaves my new nurse heads out to check on the anesthesiologist- seriously what is taking him so long??

Turns out, he was waiting for my nurse to call him and he had been done a while ago, now he threatens that it might be too late for the pain meds I so desperately need. While my husband and mother are getting a quick bite my pain level has sky rocketed but luckily this nurse is in my side, apologizing profusely for not calling the epidural guy sooner and rooting for me to get the shot right away.

He mercifully agrees and as the medicine takes affect things calm down and I feel some bliss and a much needed break only now realizing how exhausted I really am.
I haven’t been checked in a while but it is the nurse’s opinion that the epidural slowed things down enough for me to rest some and for husband to go home and put the kids to bed.

Okay, so yes, she is wrong! I can tell that she is wrong (oh I can tell alright), the pressure even WITH the epidural is out of this world. I realize of course that I can’t remember my other two deliveries completely and that you forget, ignore and deny the pain but this is crazy, freaking insane pain. It has to be-must be the worst pressure I have ever felt, it feels like I’m being ripped apart. I can’t communicate, it feels like I’m going to throw up (or you know die..) shatter and break. I’m so pale shifting in green my mom actually gets worried, they give me oxygen and keep checking my pulse and pressure, I’m shaking like a leaf (on a particularly windy day; read hurricane warning).

So no, we don’t have a few hours, no hubby does not have time to go home (forget about saying good night to kids and then come back) we barely have a few minutes. I am ten freaking centimeters! The nurse rushes around prepping the room (my mom later tells me the far end of the room fills with “emergency people” should anything go wrong), the OR is called just in case and the doctor on call is paged.

The doctor barely makes it in time to “catch”, I’m talking three to four pushes here! Fastest delivery ever! I WAS due for one of those!

The baby is out, she expertly turns the shoulder so it won’t get stuck. My mom experiences it all-telling me later that it was quite extraordinary and completely amazing! The dad of this baby hasn’t even made it home as I text “the baby is coming” so naturally he misses it all.

I yell for my mom to see if there is anything wrong with the baby but all we both see at first is “IT”, oh yes there is no denying this…

I have just delivered a screaming, red and shivering baby BOY!!!

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“Big” trouble ending with a splash!!!

I do NOT have a third one over the weekend and the nurses are quite surprised as I show up waddling my big belly over to the ultrasound room and then stress test area on Tuesday morning. I’m about to be 37 weeks pregnant and today I get to see one of the senior partners (one of the doctors that started this clinic) who I saw once before when he was telling me about the horrifying “marker” my baby had. Just seeing him brings back that uneasy feeling that usually lingers in the back of my mind, what if something is really wrong with our baby?
Something that can’t be fixed.
Something that would alter all of our lives forever…

After he performs his own ultrasound I get other things to think about however …

He asks whether my doctor has performed an internal exam and if so ever addressed my pelvic bone structure?
Hm, not really…

As previously mentioned, my doctor hasn’t been wanting to do any internal exams lately in order to leave me alone and not stir things up! I’m also strep B positive which could easily transfer to my baby. Even if she checked me on Friday she was really careful not to break the water (or make any possible rip or tear worse) or in any other way rush my labor. In her mind I could already be in labor and the shots were the only thing prolonging it.

I told the doctor in front of me all of this but he seemed to brush it all off. He certainly has both charm and bedside (literally) manners this one (unlike his very rude colleague, do you remember the other partner I had the joy of seeing after another major ultrasound? yes the one with zero manners whatsoever…). This one keeps telling me I’m awesome and beautiful and amazing, but in between all of those positives he tells me that he suspects that I have a very narrow pelvic.

Wait a minute, I have certainly heard that I am narrow before, but thought it had to do with my “tilted uterus” (I know, I’m a complete mess!). As I was giving birth to my first born and unable to push him out, the nurse kept telling me (or the whole room in general) that I was way too narrow (gee thanks…?)

The doctor assisting my first delivery (who also was quite rude…but quite possibly saved mine and baby’s life I’m right now finding out) gave me three pushes to get the baby out. I couldn’t do it, as a first time mom after three hours of pushing, I was beyond exhausted, I just couldn’t do it. I remember thinking sadly “I suck at this labor thing”.
They ended up vacuuming him out…and breaking his collarbone…

Now this doctor right here is saying that all of that was a GOOD thing…that that doctor did the RIGHT thing, simply because my pelvic bone was (is) too narrow to get baby (ies) out. He now fears with a full time baby bigger (possibly way bigger) than the other two I might be in “big” trouble (baby is already measuring over 7 lbs).

In the midst of all his “you are amazing and beautiful” he turns very serious saying that delivering a baby this much bigger vaginally might have devastating outcomes. My pelvic bone might break putting me in a wheelchair unable to walk (or take care of my kids…and everything else) for a very long time, possibly life! The baby might be deformed, have what is called shoulder dystocia, having a shoulder permanently dislocated or worse…
Or you know baby might die…

Okay, this is so NOT what I expected at this appointment. Bring on low fluids or even labor but a “forced” Cesarian?

I feel overwhelmed, disoriented and slightly dizzy. In this pregnancy it feels like if it’s not one thing, it’s another. I thought I had to deal with the high blood pressure, racing pulse and leaking water and then the terribly frightening marker…but major surgery? Not so much!
It was never even discussed.

I call my husband from the car. “It is a surgery where they take out your inner organs (and then hopefully putting them back…in the right place) for crying out loud! What do I do here?”

My mom is in shock as I come home with the news. Obviously we don’t want to pick surgery this late in the game and change all our delivery plans because of the advice of a doctor who isn’t even mine. BUT we don’t want to risk the complications that now all of a sudden seem plausible either. It sounds like this doctor has some very valid points and concerns. I tell my mom about the red flags that he mentioned; me pushing for over three hours with my first (still unable to get him out), the need to use the “vacuum” and the baby’s broken clavicle (collarbone). We discuss everything and decide together that we are not willing to take the risk of a vaginal delivery. I don’t want to break…and more importantly, I don’t want to break my baby!
Most of my friends with kids have actually had c-sections and made it out okay, despite the longer recovery time.
My last OBGYN considered the risks of me being too narrow during my last pregnancy. My daughter was after all a scheduled c-section before everything changed…

I call the doctor back since my own doctor is on vacation. I tell him that I talked everything over with my husband and with my mom and some close friends as well. We want to play it “safe: er” and schedule the surgery!

He says he has revised the notes from my first delivery and he can’t “ethically” or “medically” recommend a Caesarian because the risks are always higher BUT he adds “if it was my sister or wife I would advice the c-section”

Well then…its scheduled for the very day I turn 39 weeks. Let the worry and the wait begin…

But then I get a phone call…which ends with a splash!!!

 

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